Thursday, January 26, 2012

Something from My Cheesy Childhood

I never thought much about my life being Southern, although I married into a family with one branch of their tree linked to Georgia. I don’t drink the sweet tea, make Chess pie, or have fresh coconut cake as part of my childhood. The only recipe with Southern roots I have is a wonderful horseradish cheese spread that is known for its connections to the Kentucky Derby.

The new Southern Living magazine carries an article called “Pimento Cheese: The Pate of the South”. I thought how strange, was pimento cheese a Southern dish? I grew up on pimento cheese, and then I remembered my mother was born in Russellville, Arkansas. Could her tastes be more Southern than I thought?

I remember so well those days when Mom would pull out the wooden cutting board built into the kitchen cabinets. When she screwed on an industrial strength grinder, I knew it was pimento cheese day! Eventually, I got to help when I was old enough. Pushing chunks of buttery Cheddar through those steel wheels, I watched the pieces come out like yellow worms. Then Mom did the juicy scarlet pimentos before slathering the mounds with heaps of mayo before we ate this concoction on white bread or crackers.

Over the years, I have occasionally bought a tub of pimento cheese at the store, but never made it a priority on my shopping list. Then I saw the Southern Living article with five unique pimento cheese recipes. Some had pecans, chili powder, or even bourbon in them. Sounded strange to me, but I was enticed to try some anyway as they reminded me of homemade pimento cheese from my childhood. So yesterday I made the first on the list.

I started with the Louis Osteen pimento cheese which had a bit of cream cheese added and a dash of red pepper. I cut the red pepper down a bit so DH could not detect it. Wow! What a great pimento cheese recipe! We ate it last night on white crackers as a side to the potato leek soup I had also made that morning. I think we will try it as a grilled cheese with hearty whole grain bread today. Ah, what a great find and touchstone back to childhood.

Louis Osteen’s Pimento Cheese
Grind/Stir together the following:
6 cups of grated cheddar
4 oz. softened cream cheese3/4 cup mayo
1 T grated yellow onion (I used 2 T)
1 t. ground red pepper
7 oz. pimentos


BECKY said...

Oh, Claudia! Yummy! I LOVE pimento cheese, but I almost never buy it because it's usually too expensive. I'll have to try your recipe! Talk about always makes me think of my dad. He always used to spread some on sandwiches....Thanks for sharing!

Ames said...

Claudia my mother made Pimento cheese all through the year. She would make Pimento cheese sandwiches for our school lunches and we had it every Thanksgiving and Christmas served as stuffed celery on the relish tray. Yum!

Linda O'Connell said...

I have been following you everydayd, but just now discovered how to post on your blog. I have to right click first and then click OPEN.
Pimento is not my favorite cheese, but I ma a cheeseaholic.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

I've never had pimento cheese! I've lived in Georgia 22 years now, but that's one thing I've not tried. I guess it's time!

Lynn said...

I've never had pimento cheese either, but I do love most cheese!

irishoma said...

My mouth is watering, Girl. I've had pimento cheese, but it was in a jar with Kraft on top. I still liked eating it on Ritz crackers or celery.

Susan said...

Well my gosh, Claudia, I never made that cheese dish but it sure looks good. Would like to dip some Ritz crackers right into it. Susan

curiousceridwen said...

How fun that this is the first post I read. I wouldn't have guessed it to be southern, either. My mom made it not frequently enough to call it a childhood staple, but often enough to make me wonder why my friends turned up their noses when I packed it in my lunch. Looking forward to trying this recipe, and to reading your archives when I get a few minutes.